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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Friday, December 17, 2004

Breaking Case News: Internet Seduction of Minors

Computer_keyboard_1Title 18 U.S.C. 2422(b) makes it a federal crime to use the Internet to knowingly attempt to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity.  The Eleventh Circuit broadly interpreted this statute this week in U.S. v. Hornaday.  In Hornaday, the court held that the statute can be violated even when a defendant does not make direct Internet contact with a minor, but rather, contacts another adult over the Internet for the purpose of enlisting that adult to arrange a sexual encounter between the defendant and a minor.  The court looked to the policy behind the statute, and held that allowing a defendant to circumvent the spirit of the statute by using an adult intermediary would frustrate Congressional intent.  The court also believed that the use of an adult intermediary could qualify as an act of "inducement" of a minor, which is one of the prohibited acts listed in the statute.  To read the opinion, click here.  [Mark Godsey]

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